Closing deals is no small feat; even sales superstars will admit how challenging the journey can be to transform a prospect to a customer. Sometimes, your best efforts to secure an agreement may be met with rejection -- or even worse, devastating silence. What went wrong? Of course, each process of closing a deal is unique, but successful salespeople are always looking out for ways to make their sales strategy more effective. Below, we suggest several not-so-common mistakes sales reps might be making and outline exactly how you can patch up these weaknesses to transform lukewarm leads into secured wins. Here are 5 unexpected reasons why your sales deals aren’t closing the way you’re expecting, and just how to fix them.
Reason #1: Using outdated sales techniques.
You may have been taught a certain way to sell, or maybe you have a particular set of time-tested strategies. Though these might have worked in the past, customers are becoming more and more perceptive and may be resistant to older, more popularly-used tactics. When you hit a wall -- perhaps a tricky client or a stubborn deal -- it may be time to experiment with something new. One way is to take advantage of the wealth of information on the Internet and tap into social media. It’s where the majority of users spend almost 20% of their waking hours, and a lot of insight can be gleaned from a quick dive into a LinkedIn profile. Turn your cold calls into warm ones by researching prospects, developing a compelling reason behind your initial call, and offering up unique insights from the get-go; you might find that clients will be much more willing to continue the conversation. In addition, don’t be afraid to try out automation. A plethora of software exists to help make your job (and your life) much easier. For instance, automated meeting-booking allows for clients to choose to meet with you at their leisure. Some programs can even transcribe and analyze your sales conversations so you can get a more objective understanding on your client and overall progress.
Reason #2: Talking to the wrong person.
Everyone knows that lead quality matters; it’s nearly impossible to close a deal with someone who’s just not interested. In order to identify high-quality leads, the salesperson must first ensure that prospects
- Have a need and a desire to solve that need, and
- Have the resources and power to do so.
In other words, close with the right people. Sometimes, your prospect is handed down to you by a manager, but can only act as an intermediary or recommend you to a higher-up. Instead, aim to speak with the main decision-makers: the actual stakeholders with the power and money to make the purchase. Your time is valuable; spend it on people who can deliver.
Reason #3: Lack of balance between building relationships with the buyer and qualifying them.
Trust is one of the main predictors of customer loyalty and repeat purchase, yet building relationships with clients is often one of the most difficult aspects of selling. How do you create trust? Identify your client’s principles and appeal to these values. Build a system of mutual respect by genuinely listening to your client. You might find that you’ll learn a lot more and that your client will be more satisfied with your interactions, which directly translates into successful sales closures. At the same time, keep in mind that you need to be hitting certain checkpoints in the sales process. Quantify your customer conversations according to your timeline and delineate the next steps you need to take in order to move the conversation forward. Go into your conversations with certain goals in mind, but remember that your priority is to cultivate trust.
Reason #4: Not solving your buyer’s needs.
As a salesperson, it’s your responsibility to delve into buyer pain points and desires and align these emotional motivators with what you have to offer. Instead of simply listing product features, tap into your inner storyteller. Pitch the buyer as the hero of their own story, and your product as the perfect solution to help them overcome a significant obstacle:
- Identify (and confirm) your buyer’s functional and emotional needs. What are some personal reasons the buyer would benefit from the purchase?
- Show your buyer exactly why your product solves their needs. A new mattress would improve sleep, health, and overall mood so that you can greet the next day with energy and finally get to those side projects you’ve been putting off.
- Build up additional value by differentiating your product. Emphasize additional benefits and provide evidence of previous success.
- Set them up for success. Understand your client’s bottom line and what criteria is needed for them to go through with the decision. Ensure that the transition to your product is painless by providing them with sufficient resources.
Reason #5: Being over-optimistic about the deal and/or your own abilities.
The first step to success is to learn. Successful salespeople understand that the sales landscape is always changing, and as a result, are flexible to adaptation and constantly seeking opportunities for self-improvement. Getting a second pair of eyes can be incredibly helpful when you hit a roadblock. You might learn something new by asking your manager to witness a call or a teammate to look over your emails.
Ultimately, the process of closing a deal can often be a long, arduous journey with its own unique ups and downs, even for the most experienced salesperson. When you run into an inevitable obstacle, having resilience, flexibility, and the willingness to try new things can help you develop a new strategy of action and, in the long term, set you up for success.